Protests at Temple Square
Photo credit: Huffington Post
The Ordain Women movement is planning to collect their efforts to be heard at this April’s LDS General Conference.
One way they are trying to be heard is by getting seated at the Priesthood session. In recent years, when technology and resources would allow, this session is held privately at the Salt Lake City Conference Center and transmitted to meetinghouses around the globe.
But in just the last year, the LDS Church opened its viewing for all, just not in the Center itself.
Despite this, the Ordain Women movement already has tried to get tickets for themselves but were denied.
Jessica Moody, of the Church’s Public Affairs department, sent an open letter to Ordain Women. The letter requested that if they wished to demonstrate that they ask they do so in a pre-designated area adjacent to Temple Square.
We will have to wait and see if their plans come together on the evening of April 5.
As a man and priesthood holder in the Church, I am concerned about what these kinds of actions reflect on our religion and culture. We pride ourselves on being of one heart and one mind, but these actions don’t seem like they fit into our ideology at all.
These contentions are not about inequality in the church. This issue is more about misunderstanding of church doctrine.
Emma Smith did something similar with the creation of the Relief Society. She organized the women of the early church to help with the temporal affairs of the church.
Joseph Smith, the first president of the church and her husband, took the matter to the Lord in prayer and then organized the women fully. Smith said of the Relief Society, “The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized.”
I understand that if we don’t ask we may never receive. Yet, is this the way it should be done?
Instead of needless protests at Temple Square, why not promote a campaign via social media to have a day of fast for this cause? Or a letter writing campaign to President Monson himself?
Both would be reverent and probably more effective. After looking through the organization’s website, I couldn’t find mention of either of these, only for praying and fasting for those who will be in attendance.
This movement has an unwarranted ego of being a substantial majority of women of the church. This isn’t the case.
According to their petition site, WhatWomenKnow.org, of the 15 million members of the Church, only 1,300 have signed the petition issued by the organization. The percentage of members who signed this is insurmountable.
Another way they are trying to be heard is by wearing purple at other sessions of Conference, which both genders are welcome to attend.
While this approach is one much more quiet and respectful to the manner of the meeting, it can also be distracting for others. If I see a woman or man who is wearing purple, I am automatically suspect of his or her intentions of attendance.
Is she here just to make a statement or does she want to learn from the leaders? This may be my “natural man” sneaking out, but I can’t help if my mind wants to wander. Again, is this the best way to voice your opinion?
What this discussion comes down to is the perspective of inequality in the Church. My stance is that difference doesn’t imply inequality.
If we wanted to bring up how men are treated differently in church we can talk about the other side of the issue of male inequality.
Blogger Andy Kano suggests having a designated room for priesthood meetings, cushioned chairs for our place of meetings, having a father’s lounge and the possibility of splitting responsibilities of moving in and out new members.
Yet, we’re not pounding the Church office building doors in revolt. I mention these in jest in hopes that sympathizers of the Ordain Women group will realize that you don’t have the raw end of the deal as much as you think.
The church leadership is equally divided, with men at the helm of the First Presidency, Young Men and Sunday School presidencies while the women are in charge of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary. Both genders are represented behind the stand.
What this boils down to is that there is a misconception about equality within the church. The church has done its best to promote womanhood and the joys that come from it. Men and women are different and different doesn’t mean better or worse.